More than 700 Michigan schools announced they would remain closed on Wednesday, forcing students to stay home for the third day in a row.
As most schools, community colleges and universities remain closed Tuesday across the state, education officials continued to meet late in the afternoon to decide whether to extend the closure to Wednesday, when temperatures were expected to reach the high teens.
Districts such as Detroit Public Schools, Allen Park, Brighton, Grosse Ile, Melvindale, Oxford, Romulus and Southgate announced Tuesday schools would be closed on Wednesday. Dearborn, Plymouth-Canton, Wyandotte, L’Anse Creuse, Chippewa Valley, Clintondale Community and Anchor Bay schools followed suit.
“The major issue continues to be the severe cold temperatures and very low wind chills, which are forecast to still be in the double digits below zero during the time period most students and parents would be outdoors getting ready to get to school tomorrow,” said Steve Wasko, a DPS spokesman. “As is the case for all school districts, safety is the No. 1 factor.”
Oxford Schools officials cited “poor back road conditions and expected wind chills of -20 degrees or lower. We thank everyone for their patience and understanding.”
Some districts, including Royal Oak, announced plans to open Wednesday.
Several intermediate school districts such as Monroe ISD and colleges such as Monroe Community College and Mott Community College in Flint also announced they would remain closed.
Michigan State University remained closed Tuesday for a second straight day. The University of Michigan plans to start its winter term classes on schedule Wednesday but is asking faculty to accommodate students who can’t make it for the first day, Provost Martha Pollack said in a statement on the school’s website.
State education officials said districts can cancel up to six days of classes for reasons beyond human control, such as snow or extreme cold, before having to make up the lost time.
Michigan schools are required to provide 1,098 hours of instruction and a minimum of 170 days.
“If a district does not schedule extra days/hours and has an inordinate number of ‘snow days,’ they either need to add days/hours to their school calendar or receive less school aid,” Michigan Department of Education spokesman Bill DiSessa said.